Angoulême, a city in Southwestern France, dubbed itself the international comic strip city in the early 2000s. The city is mostly known for its Angoulême International Comics Festival and now its namesake is unmistakable as walls all over the city sport huge comic strip displays.
Maybe it’s a little easier than we think…From one of France’s foremost poets and playwrights:
“Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.”
Image Source, Kids chasing Father Christmas in London, 1926
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Never hurts to get into this habit, especially when all people usually need is a little kindness:
“The manner of giving is worth more than the gift.”
– Pierre Corneille
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“Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute! Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Only engage, and then the mind grows heated. Begin, and then the work will be completed.”
– Jean Anouilh
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“It is a sign of great inner insecurity to be hostile to the unfamiliar.” – Anais Nin
Have you felt yourself seizing up when presented with something new? A reaction that pushes you to retreat within yourself rather than explore that novelty?
Anais Nin reminds us in her writing that it is very possible to silence such insecurities by opening oneself to unfamiliar terrain.
“When we totally accept a pattern not made by us, not truly our own, we wither and die. People’s conventional structure is often a façade. Under the most rigid conventionality there is often an individual, a human being with original thoughts or inventive fantasy, which he does not dare expose for fear of ridicule, and this is what the writer and artist are willing to do for us. They are guides and map makers to greater sincerity. They are useful, in fact indispensable, to the community. They keep before our eyes the variations which make human beings so interesting.”
Might just be your time to become a cartographer.
Especially it if you plan to map it out for others to navigate on their own one day.
zeitgeist: the defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time.
As most of you readers well know, I love me some historical theatre. Something about the medium allows you to explore the essence of the time without even noticing that you’re learning something new. But how does a playwright or composer take us back to that period without having the material feel antiquated? For Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, this meant reinvisioning that 7th president’s life as that of an emo rock concert. And in another new project from that same composer, Paris Commune, it means infusing 200 year old music with a healthy dose of novelty.
The Paris Commune is revered as the first socialist revolution in Europe. Citizens rallied together, overthrew the government and had control for just over 70 days. This theatre piece delves into this explosive intersection between unrest and artistic expression by centering on the giant concert that the people threw when they took over the TuileriesPalace.
The piece is extraordinary political. Although it focuses’ on an undeniably French event, its tremors of activism resonate with the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, and grassroots movements that we have seen pop up and define the atmosphere of the past year.
Composer Michael Friedman also brought a new edge to this centuries-old story by using the period music as his base material and translating and adapting the lyrics to “make songs that were dangerous in 1871 still feel dangerous today.”
As for whether or not the piece is activist theatre, Friedman charges that it is most likely a mirror rather than a call to arms. At its heart, the show offers the questions of : “At what point do you realize that you have to do something? At what point do you have to seize control of your own life?” – questions that are important, universal and clues to why the theatre is still kicking.
When thinking of Mozart, the notion of early rock-star may not come to mind. A child prodigy, yes. A whiz on the ivories, no doubt. But emo-rock sex symbol? The creative team behind Mozart l’Opera Rock certainly thought so; they re-envisioned his life for the stage and took France by storm.
The musical, a mashup of new pop-rock and traditional Mozart compositions, premiered in late 2009. Though not as critically well-received as some other tuners out of France in the recent years(including Notre Dame de Paris, Le Petit Prince, and Le Roi Soleil) the show’s glittering reimagining of the 18th century composer’s life devloped a large fan following and went on to tour through Europe and the rest of France.
Take a glance at this cheeky single that became one of the show’s most popular anthems. The song follows Wolfgang as he attempts to distribute his music and find a job in Paris. The lyrics dabble with sexual wordplay (somewhat evident, though undoubtedly less subtle, in the English subtitles available on this version). Enjoy this stroll down anachronism lane with Mr. Mozart himself.
A little roundup of the internet’s finest wild horses for your Monday:
Thought it was too late to learn a language? Looks like we can pick up that foreign tongue post-13 after all.
Just think! Never breathing, ever again!
Brilliantly done. It’s things like this that make you know you’ve lost a good one. When choosing actors to play you, Nora Ephron gives a very convincing argument for Meryl Streep.
Kids are fantastic. Louis C.K.’s sound like wry comics in the making.
Had no idea that the process was this extensive. Just how one gets cast in a Cirque du Soleil show.
Oh yes. Are you ready to be happy yet? How about now?
Image by Andrey Pavlov.
Welcome to the end of the week! This revolutionary writer gives us his take on how we can create “the best of all possible worlds.”
“Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her: but once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game.”
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Great Big Ol’ Thank You!
This weekend, in the midst of the opening weekend of The Glorious Ones, I logged on to discover that Sarah Alice of The Adventures of an English Student nominated Thoughts On Theatre for the Versatile Blogger Award. I want to personally thank Sarah for the nomination and give a quick thanks to all of the others readers who have been supporting and sharing Thoughts On Theatre with others.
- Thank the award-giver and link back to them in your post.
- Share 7 things about yourself.
- Pass this award along to 15 blogs you enjoy reading.
- Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know about the award.
So once again, thank you so much Sarah for including me on your list. As she mentioned in her nomination, “I really love the way you approach things, especially for instance, the new year and the idea of being something different.” You are so kind to say so. I started this blog as a way to get passionate people talking about the arts, creativity, life lessons and what inspires them. Thank you for recognizing this vision with your nomination.
Seven Things About Me:
- I went to school for Global Studies and French, and will always be fascinated with globalization and French culture.
- I’m very nearly addicted to Special K Red Berries. Can’t live without the stuff.
- The very first Broadway musical I saw was Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats at age 4.
- Some of my favorite sounds in the world include male harmony, clean tap dancing, autumn leaves crunching underfoot, and the silence hanging in the air on a snowy morning.
- I’ve been singing jazzy tunes in French and English with one of my fabulously talented friends Kim for the past two years in a group called Les Chattes.
- You will almost always see me in high heels.
- I love to cook and am constantly on the hunt for new recipes to add to my notebook. If you have a favorite, pass it my way.
Here are the 15 Blogs that I wish to pass this award to:
- http://peachfarmstudio.wordpress.com/ – Daily inspiration, beautiful posts, and wonderfully creative ideas about how to keep books alive and gratitude flowing.
- http://chicquero.com/ – Stylish, fresh, and cutting edge takes on obscure trends from around the world. Fascinating and bold, this blog always surprises.
- http://culturedchaos.wordpress.com/ – Cultured and savvy, this blog highlights the joy of travel, good music, and life experiences that take your breath away.
- http://pathwriter.wordpress.com/ – Inspiring words from this classy lady are sure to make your day. Her blog helps to foster creativity on all levels.
- http://ahungrylife.com/ – Looking for way to improve yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually? This blog should be your first stop. Very thoughtful writing.
- http://positivecookieattitudes.wordpress.com/ – Great recipes meet up with positivity at this blog. Good place to find some wonderful quotes.
- http://aaronleaman.com/ – A stunning collection of photographic art, writing, film work that is worth perusing.
- http://zenstorming.wordpress.com/ – Always interesting, often provocative – this blog is sure to peak your interest for those looking to innovate and think creatively.
- http://onemuse.com/blog/ – This playwright shares great snippets of his life and thoughts in a way that is engaging for all.
- http://allezallie.wordpress.com/ Great theatre reviews, travel memories from Europe, and wonderful finds of happenings around NYC.
- http://clairesouchet.wordpress.com/ Fun collection of items from around the web. Hilarious lists and creative ideas.
- http://weelilwimsy.com/ – Great blog on inspiration and personal growth. Always includes writing on a variety of topics as well.
- http://chelseavose.wordpress.com/ – Fun blog with great photos and write-ups across a wide spectrum of subjects. Good advice and a positive attitude to boot!
- http://thebettermanprojects.wordpress.com/ Each day this blog shares a story or experience that promotes personal growth.
- http://artepicurean.com/ – The blog attached to this site is a great place to find musings on why creatives do art and how art gives life meaning.
Sarah, thank you again! Glad I can participate and pay it forward.
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How gorgeous is the scenic design and setup for this song? Take a look at this excerpt from Le Petit Prince, une spectacle musicale par Richard Cocciante et Elizabeth Anais.
Brilliant directorial idea right at the start of this clip: the little prince takes his magnifying glass down and the rose appears “in the glass” beside him. This clip ends with the rose bidding her new friend “adieu.”
Creative. Bold. Inventive.
More, more, more please.
In the original production of “The Glorious Ones,” John Kassir (Dottore) got to show off his unique talent: mastery of mime. His performance has led me back to one of the great originals – the unparalleled Marcel Marceau.
“Do not the most moving moments of our lives find us all without words?“
– Marcel Marceau
This a man who devoted more than 60 years of his life to performing. And it paid off. He was acknowledged as the world’s greatest practitioner of mime.
In the video below, he describes how to create reality in a scene. In this case, going up and down a set of stairs. Watch his eyes as they create a destination above him.
Translation from French:
“Going up and downstairs. It’s an exercice that Jean-Louis Barrault, a disciple of Etienne Decroux, created dramatically. I have changed it a little, it’s another way to do it. What is important is to not only to locate the ramp’s substance, its artisanale side. You also must create the place’s heaviness, distance. I’m going downstairs”
More words of wisdom from another artistic mind. Monsieur Ionesco, take it away…
“Theatre is simply what cannot be expressed by any other means; a complexity of words, movements, gestures that convey a vision of the world inexpressible in any other way.”
– Eugène Ionesco